Performing Partnerships

Performing Partnerships

ACO season celebrates diversity


The Arts Center of the Ozarks recently released a glimpse into its 2018-19 season and, says Executive Director Kathleen Trotter, the goal of the arts organization is to include even more of the community than in the past.

“We want to involve the local artist — not just on stage, not just in our gallery, but directors and crew members for theater productions and local musicians,” says Trotter. “That’s kind of the theme of the year. We also want the art to be entertaining, educational and engaging in the sense that we want the community to grow, to be challenged, to have all of those things to think about — so all of those elements drive the creation of the programming.”

Trotter speaks from her office at ACO, where she will spend the summer surrounded by children from the Northwest Arkansas community. The organization has hosted art camps and classes for the past several weeks, and July brings Trike Theatre’s production camp and performance of “Madagascar,” as well as the tech education camp Nerdies.

In fact, it seems that ACO boasts more hosting opportunities and partnerships with Northwest Arkansas organizations than nearly any other arts organization in the area. Partners include Arts Live Theatre, Trike Theatre and the performing arts ensemble LatinX, and they will host four shows from the Northwest Arkansas Audio Theatre in the 2018-19 season.

“We [partner with] organizations that bring to Springdale the kind of experiences that we wish to present to our community based on our mission — rather than copying or duplicating services,” notes Trotter. “We want to promote them and help with production so that we both are involved in the end result. That’s what we consider a partnership.”

Trotter says their efforts are constantly evolving in order to serve even more of the community. For example, ACO’s partnership with Trike this season will yield a program called the Soaring Singers, through which ACO and Trike will work with elementary students at Jones and Parson Hills elementary schools in Springdale.

Teaching artist Stephanie Thibeault gestures while demonstrating a memory recall exercise during a theater workshop last month at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale. “We will continue to grow the diversity of our audiences,” Executive Director Kathleen Trotter promises in announcing ACO’s 2018-19 season.

“This is a partnership with Trike and the War Eagle after-school program,” says Trotter. “Theater will be one of the after-school options the kids can choose. If they do, they’ll work with Trike on the artistic side, and we’re doing the marketing/production part. We’ll work with the kids on all aspects of theater, from designing the set to marketing, and, of course, the kids will be the actors. At the end of their 12-week session, they’ll present their play in what we’re calling a ‘Family Festival’.”

Trotter says the diversity of ACO’s programming will strive to mimic the diversity of the community.

“We will continue to grow the diversity of our audiences,” promises Trotter. “The family programming is appealing to our Hispanic and Marshallese families, as well as families across Northwest Arkansas. We have translated the promotional materials of ‘Madagascar’, because we really want to tell those families, ‘You are welcome.’”


ACO Season



July — DreamWorks’ “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure Jr.” with Trike Theatre

September — “Plaza Suite” by Neil Simon

November — “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” adapted from the television special

January — “Tomás and the Library Lady”

February — Agatha Christie’s “A Murder is Announced”

Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater

October — “Dracula”

December — “It’s a Wonderful Life”

February — “Go Back for Murder”

May — “War of the Worlds”

Gallery Exhibitions

July 10-Aug. 17 — PSNWA: “Our Natural State”

Aug. 28-Sept. 22 — Sensory Iconoclasts and Sarah Hearn

Oct. 2-26 — 5X5 Annual Exhibition

Oct. 30-Nov. 3 — “Day of the Dead”

Nov. 10-Jan. 7 — “Frida in the Garden”

Feb. 19-March 29 — Guest Curated Exhibition

April 2-19 — Senior High Art Competition

April 23-May 3 — Celebrate Art Competition

May 14-June 28 — Individual Artist Exhibitions

Categories: Theater